The Longleaf Scenic Byway is a 17-mile stretch of road that takes you through a longleaf pine forest of rolling hills, buttes and mesas. Beech, southern magnolias, and loblolly pines also populate the hillsides. The scenic byway begins on the eastern edge of Kisatchie National Forest off of highway 119, traveling through the heart of the national forest to its western edge. The elevation of the byway ranges from 80 feet to 400 feet above sea level, which is quite hilly terrain for Louisiana standards. Thanks to Caroline Dormon and the work of the federal government, Kisatchie National Forest has been a protected wilderness area since 1911. Kisatchie National Forest, the only national forest in Louisiana, spans over 600,000 acres. This thicket of woods is one of the few remaining expanses of longleaf pine forests in the country.
The byway is a main access point for some of the national forest’s best destinations including the Longleaf Vista, which is one of the few scenic overlooks in the state of Louisiana. Stop at the vista to enjoy the view, have a picnic, or to enjoy the 1.5-mile loop hike that is truly enjoyable. The Longleaf Vista would be unique to experience anywhere, but especially in Louisiana.
Two of the other main attractions in the area are the Caroline Dormon Trail and the Backbone Trail, offering backpackers 17 miles of trail to explore over the course of a couple of days. Both of these trails are also open to mountain biking and are directly accessed from the Longleaf Scenic Byway.
Looking to spend more than one day in the area? Kisatchie Bayou Campground can be accessed via the scenic byway, offering scenic views of the rocky bayou which is surrounded by beautiful old-growth hardwood and pine. This campground is walk-in primitive camping with campsites that are equipped with tent pads, a picnic table and fire ring.